The "R" word

A story shared by a coworker of mine recently made me realize that I haven’t thought about religion in a long time.

Her story involved us having a laugh at a gaggle of faithful, church going Mormon folk that she encountered in a trip that took her through Salt Lake City.  Although in the moment we were laughing at their expense I thought “who am I to judge these people on their faith when I’m barely even sure of my own.”

I was raised by a family that, although we acknowledged that we did indeed have a religious affiliation, we rarely ever expressed it save for the time around major holidays, so I had little reason to take it seriously.

That, and one of the defining moments my generations is that decade long war fueled in large part by undue religious hatred from both sides, so it would be easy for me to dismiss religion as a zealot’s practice, and thus no interest of mine.  And yet, I am not an atheist.  And believe me, I tried!

One of the main problems with religion is that those who speak for it (we shall call them the “not so silent minority”) spend more time talking about why opposing religions are wrong and rarely about why theirs is right.

This is of course, because religion is faith, not fact, and thus relatively indefensible.  And yet, just because a few people who represent any given religion are whack-jobs does that somehow dismiss the religion to which they are subscribed?

I’ve always found atheists to be a rather unfriendly lot of people, what with their unsolicited “science-based” tirades and my-way-or-the-highway attitudes towards the rest of the world.

However, when looking at the way their opposition usually behaves it’s not hard to understand the bitterness.  Still, you’d think they’d want to be more welcoming considering they’re fighting a battle they can’t help but lose (and this writer hopes they do.)

Religion has been a driving force behind cultural evolution since the beginning of time, for better and worse.  To dismiss it entirely because you’re butt hurt over the time a few of the kids from the local private school picked on you is beyond petty, and to talk down to those who don’t share your beliefs (this goes for atheists and theists alike) makes you no better than the people you’re fighting against.

But we were talking about me weren’t we?  Where’d I leave off?  Oh, right, the Mormons.  These people get a lot of crap from the media, and while I don’t necessarily agree with what Mormon figureheads have to say, I’ve got to say I find their religion quite quaint in its own way.  It’s hard to look down upon their almost nauseating amount of optimism and their charming city on the hill outlook on Christianity.  I don’t take it as gospel, but it’s far from harmful, unless you count their pushy, “read my book” nature as harmful.